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Question: What are the regulations of a female traveling abroad for study? I have been trying to get into the MA program of my local and only two universities for the past three years, no success. My grades are high, and i can get in an MA program in another province. I've been working on my education for the past ten years, and I want to go on into the MA.; please advice.

There is no harm for you in traveling in pursuit of your studies as long as you are reasonably certain of your safety and security, both during the duration of your travel as your residence in the city of your campus.

The Prophet’s interdict against women’s travel was specifically made in the context of the pre-Islamic state of anarchy and chaos that prevailed in the Arabian peninsula where tribalism was the norm; in this milieu there was absolutely no guarantee of women’s safety and security. Islam came to bring peace and restore law and order and security of life and property as the Prophet, peace be upon him; that he had intended to establish safety of women as a priority of his program is clear in the prediction he made in Makkah: “I will continue to struggle with this mission until a woman can travel freely all by herself without fear of molestation or assault on her person from any quarter!”
When we take this statement of the Prophet, peace be upon him, into due account it is safe to conclude that the Prophet’s interdict against women’s journey without a mahram was specifically intended to guarantee her safety and protection, and that as such it was based on a rationale which can be discovered by human reason; in other words, it not a cultic ritual which we must apply, irregardless of the circumstances. It is for this reason that scholars and jurists have differed about this issue considerably; most of them stressing especially in later times emphasizing relative safety as the primary condition for relaxing the rule.

Today’s international travel conditions, by air, land and sea, are relative safe and secure by any standards as compared to the relatively volatile conditions of travel in the desert in pre-Islamic times. Therefore, there is no need to be unduly concerned about women’s safety especially in countries where there is rule of law and order. By making this statement, of course, we do not mean to state that women can be either complacent or slack in taking all precautionary measures that are possible by human standards.

As long as such measures are taken, there is no need for us to be rigid about the rules of travel for women. The juristic principle which states that, ‘fatwa changes according to time and place’, is especially worthy of remembering in this respect.

For further details, please see the answer to the question #768 on this site, you can access it by typing mahram at the search engine.

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